April 20th
Tray Mtn Shelter(58.6)-Dicks Creek Gap, US 76(69.6)  Georgia

I stayed up late last night, so I didn’t set an alarm even though it was my first town day. It had been a cold and gusty night and for some reason I kept waking up. I ended up sleeping later than usual, but got hiking by 7:30am. Here is this morning’s sunrise.

It was my first time camping near a shelter. What I didn’t think about was how many people I’d be around as I got going this morning a bit late. Just walking past all the tents this morning I stopped to say hi to some as I passed by. I like to hike alone in the morning and I need to be more aware of that next time I decided to tent near a shelter. Everyone is really nice though and it was a nice morning. I started out with about 30mins to myself and was excited to cruise to town with some music. As I was hiking down a muddy rocky section, I was untangling my headphones when I slipped. I saved the fall by waving my arms like an idiot and then was relieved that I didn’t fall completely. Then I wondered how I slipped in the first place and remembered I had my headphones in my hand. I looked everywhere for them and after five minutes I finally found them…hanging in a tree! I’m such a moron…close call, but no lost headphones, whew! Look how hard they were to spot! Once again, I know you all are laughing…Well, there’s more to come…

There were two good steep climbs today and the rest was really nice downhill to Dick’s Gap(road crossing). I saw section and weekend hikers I’d been overlapping with this leg about half the time and it was nice to come in and out of conversation and then hike on my own for a bit. Temperatures got into the 70s today and the sun was really beating down for the first time this hike. Temps are going to stay warm this week, but thunderstorms are due early in the week. So far my pattern seems to be that I hike on the rainy days and go into town on the nice days…that needs to change!

I know it seems quick that I’m hitting town on my fourth day, but I actually did this leg a day and a half quicker than I had planned as I gave myself low mileage for the first week and didn’t anticipate feeling this great. My body feels like it never left the trail. I didn’t expect to feel like this at all. I feel like hikers do when they come out of high elevation, but I wasn’t even in high elevation. So far, the steep hills have not worn me out much at all, but I can see how it can stop people in their tracks. I think I’ll be more exhausted when the heat comes, but for now, I’m loving that my body has taken so well to the steep ups and downs.

I still wanted to take the overnight in town just to rest my body and most importantly catch up on emails, blog stuff, and watch shows! When I got to the road, there were many people from trail to talk to and it’s so funny how this already feels like a community in just four days. I noticed a car that was dropping people off and asked if they were headed to town and they were kind enough to take me. The hotel I’m at has a shuttle, but I didn’t know that until it was too late. I’m not used to trails where motels actually come to the trail to get the hikers! As soon as they dropped me off, I noticed how hot and sunny it was. I reached up to grab my sunglasses off my hat and they were gone! I must have set them in the car that gave me the ride, ugh! I even did a quick check and told them I have a habit of leaving things. I know I was wearing them when I got in the car, so I must have just set them on the seat. Again, I’m such a moron! This is going to happen a lot on this trail because I get worse when more is going on around me and there is so much going on around here. I just lose focus.

I mentioned my superfan yesterday that had waited to surprise me on the trial and I missed him by just a few minutes. His name is Kevin and he got in contact with me and offered to take me out to dinner with his wife. It was great! They took me to Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris and it was beautiful! I had steak! What a way to kick off the trail! Kevin and Mary were great to spend time with and the time just flew by. Kevin even got us to take a picture with the Wired pose. It was great!

This is the view we had of the golf course as we ate on the balcony. I mean seriously, is this my life!? Thanks so much Kevin and Mary!!!

Lastly, I haven’t been able to thank all those who have sent care packages already. So much has been going on, that I haven’t been able to do the shout outs I like to do. I will soon be doing more pictures of what you all have sent, but for these first two legs, I want to thank Malto, Dennis, Kristi, Wally, Glenn & Carol, John & Carol, and Michael & Jenny. You all rock and your goodies have started this hike off on the right foot! I do want to give a special mention to my step mom Robin who is coordinating all this, my sister who is taking lots of time to help me post the blogs in a timely manner, and my dad who sent me the most unique thing yet…Mac & Cheese band aids! How perfect for me are these!?

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